[Wikimedia-l] making tech journalism easier to read

Quim Gil qgil at wikimedia.org
Wed May 22 16:48:46 UTC 2013

On 05/22/2013 08:39 AM, Florence Devouard wrote:
> My main suggestion (valid for all posts, technical or not) would be to
> start with a clearly identified cap as summary. And put an extra effort
> so that this cap is written in simple and straightforward message.

Yes! Don't assume readers will reach the end of your post. You will be 
lucky if they end the lead paragraph! This is the Who, What, When, 
Where, Why (and How) rule. Skip any of this if you wish, but do it 

Looking at more examples of first paragraphs:

Getting ready for ULS everywhere
Pretty ok, although an extra sentence explaining what is Universal 
Language Selector would be welcome. Yes, it has been explained in 
several posts in the same blog but we can't simply assume that your 
readers today have also read those previous articles.

Request for proposals: MediaWiki release management
The actual lead paragraph is the 4th, and only re-sorting the paragraphs 
4,5,1,2,3 would make the text a lot clearer.
(I'm sitting literally next to Greg and Rob so I hope they don't get mad 
at me!)

Also related: "Request for proposals: MediaWiki release management" is 
not very clear as a headline for outsiders. I hesitated sharing the 
official tweet that came with this header. Erik put it this way: "The 
Wikimedia Foundation is looking for a partner to develop the third party 
MediaWiki open source ecosystem" and my retweet quickly followed.

We can probably add "The Microblogging Sharing Test" to our headlines.  :)

No math or script will easily catch any of this, and this is why big 
media must keep paying plenty of humans to write good stories.

Quim Gil
Technical Contributor Coordinator @ Wikimedia Foundation

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